Northampton Town Centre – Time to Put People First
Update 24 February 2015
It seems I can take credit for suggesting that the Greyfriars site might be perfect for a Coach Station .
Now for the closure to traffic of Abington Street in at least one of the party Manifestos and Free Parking?
If there was an issue that the people of Northampton couldn’t understand it was the opening up of Abington Street, the main thoroughfare in the town, to traffic when other towns and cities are pedestrianising theirs.
The reason for the consternation was very simple being that even though Councillor Mackintosh claimed there had been a very wide consultation, when in fact there hadn’t, and against all public opinion he went ahead, borrowing and spending £6 million on another of his pet projects.
Any suggestion of returning Abington Street to pedestrian only and closing it to traffic will of course lead to cries of anguish from Cllr Mackintosh about wasting tax payers money, except he would as usual be wrong.
To close Abington Street to traffic would take no more that the erection of No Entry to traffic with the exception of Blue Badge holders signs, at a cost certainly a great deal less than the millions the Conservatives have borrowed, which incidentally has to be paid back by the tax payer at the cost of cutting front line services.
If whoever is in control of the Borough Council on the 8th May, and I have absolutely no idea who it will be, are serious about helping the towns businesses and attracting more people into the town centre, reversing what has been a terminal decline with almost three million fewer visitors in the four years of Cllr Mackintosh’s regime they will have to resolve the Parking issues.
Whenever I go into town there is always someone looking and trying to work out what the cost of car parking is.
So why not make it simple for everyone to understand by having the first hour FREE and then charging a flat rate £1 in all of the Northampton Borough Council Car Parks during the week Monday to Friday irrespective of how long you park in them and have FREE parking at weekends.
FREE parking should also be provided in the two weeks prior to Christmas.
The advantage to this policy would be to make ‘on street’ parking, managed and controlled by the Conservative County Council uneconomic and will I hopefully force them to match the charges of the Borough Council.
The incoming Council also has to address the public transport issue and especially the farce that the decision to build the new bus station on the Fishmarket site has created and no more than during the winter with people stood out in the Drapery or in freezing bus station.
One of the unintentional consequences of the negotiating style of Cllr Mackintosh which ended with Legal and General saying they were stopping planning because of his attitude and then abandoning Northampton and the Grosvenor Centre expansion is that the site is now available for use.
Why not move the bus shelters from the Drapery to, let’s for the moment call it the Greyfriars site which would reduce traffic in the Drapery and give an easier access to the Grosvenor Centre, Market Square and Abington Street.
The site should also be used as the coach and taxi interchange making it easier and safer for travellers to transfer between buses and inter-city coaches.
Using the Greyfriars site would also provide access to public toilets in the Grosvenor Centre better still the Borough Council should invest in decent facilities for public transport passengers.
Will any of the political parties take up the challenge to put people before pet projects?
Certainly from their record the Northampton Conservative led by Cllr Mackintosh won’t put people before their own self-interest.
We will have to wait for the manifesto promises to come out, wouldn’t it be surprising if some or all of these are included, and if they are, should I take credit for them???
Or leave it to those who are only to willing to?